“Finché” and “affinché” are two words in Italian that look strikingly similar, but do they have similar meanings?
Here are two rounds of speed dates to help you figure out how to use the words “finché” and “affinché” in Italian.
Round #1: Finché
According to a mix of dictionaries from all over the Interwebs, “finché” can mean:
— As long as
— So long as
— As far as
It can be used in a variety of ways, but I want to talk about my favorite first — to say dramatic things.
— Non mi dimenticherò mai di te finché sarò vivo! – I’ll never forget about you as long as I am alive.
— Finché avrò vita, non smetterò mai di amarti. – So long as I have life, I’ll never stop loving you.
— Finchè staremo uniti non ci succederà nulla. – As long as we’re going to stay together we’re going to be safe.
— Farò di tutto per renderti felice finchè me lo permetterai. – I’ll do everything to make you happy as long as you’ll let me do it.
And it can be used in less dramatic ways to mean “until”:
— Volevo andare a vivere in Italia finché non mi sono resa conto che ero incinta. – I wanted to go live in Italy until I realized I was pregnant.
— Possiamo aspettare finché lui torna a casa? – Can we wait until he returns home?
— Resterò qui con te finché non arriverà tua mamma, ok? – I’ll stay here with you until your mom arrives, ok?
— Guardiamo un film finché Giulia non prepara la cena. – Let’s watch a movie until Giulia starts preparing dinner.
As you can see in examples above, sometimes “finché” is followed by “non”.
When you place “non” after, and you’re using “finché” to mean “until”, the meaning won’t change.
A couple other examples:
— Mangia le lasagne finché sono calde. – Eat your lasagna while it’s hot.
— Dovresti passare del tempo con lui finché è qua. – You should spend time with him while he’s here.
This “while” is meant in the sense of “before”, like “before it gets cold” or “before he’s gone”.
— Battere il ferro finché è caldo. – Strike the iron while it’s hot.
Round #2: Affinché
According to a mix of dictionaries from all over the Interwebs, “affinché” can mean:
— So that
—Enabling that/Ensuring that
— In order that
The definition “so that” feels most comfortable to me, so here are some examples with that definition:
— Stavamo parlando in l’Italiano affinché lui avrebbe potuto capirmi meglio. – We were speaking in Italian so that he could understand me better.
— Dovevo fare l’esame affinché potessi iscrivermi all’università. – I had to take the exam so that I could apply for university.
— Tutti devono conoscere i propri diritti affinché possano decidere per se stessi. – Everyone should know their rights so that they can decide for themselves.
You’ll also find this word being used in more formal situations or news-type settings to mean “ensuring that”
— Il governo ha posto fine alle manifestazioni affinché nessuno si potesse fare male. – The government put an end to the protests ensuring that no one would get hurt.
— Auspico che il governo sostenga questa richiesta così importante affinché gli studenti dappertutto possano accedere all’università a costo zero. – I hope that the government supports this request that’s so important in ensuring that students everywhere can access university for free.
— Credo che tu debba raddioppiare le tue ore di studio affinchè tu possa superare l’esame. – I think you should double you studying hours in order to pass the exam.
— I medici hanno deciso di cambiare la cura affinchè il paziente possa guarire velocemente. – The doctors decided to change the treatment ensuring that the patient could recover quickly.
As you might have noticed, when you use “affinché”, you have to use the subjunctive mood after. If you’re not familiar with the subjunctive mood, you can read more about it here.
Any questions on how to use “finché” or “affinché”? Leave them in the comments below!